A nationwide celebration to mark the tercentenary of the great British designer, craftsman and entrepreneur, Thomas Chippendale, is set to take place next year entitled Chippendale 300.
The year-long programme of events will include exhibitions, masterclasses, tours, study days and even a Chippendale bake off competition, all inspired by the life, work and legacy of Chippendale.
Historic houses, museums, charities and craftsmen’s organisations that own, look after, study and work with furniture and other artefacts produced by Chippendale have come together to present a range of exhibitions and public events throughout the year.
Partners include Antique Collecting magazine, Burton Constable Hall, Dumfries House, Firle Place, Leeds Museums and Art Gallery, Temple Newsam, Master Carvers Association, Furniture History Society, Harewood House Trust, Newby Hall, Paxton House, Weston Park and a number of National Trust properties that hold Chippendale work including Nostell Priory’s significant collection.
Thomas Chippendale: A Celebration of British Craftsmanship and Design 1718-2018 is a major exhibition at Leeds Museum, 9 February – 10 June 2018, that will launch the year. The exhibition will explore Chippendale’s modest beginnings and his rise to fame and prominence. It will also celebrate the quality of his work and consider the legacy of the ‘Chippendale style’ since his death in 1779. Highlights will include original drawings and documents, displays of materials and workmanship, and of course many examples of his peerless furniture, some of which will be on public display for the first time.
Paxton House holds one of the world’s largest collections of Chippendale furniture. To celebrate the tercentenary it will be staging the exhibition ‘Neat & Substantially Good’: Chippendale furniture at Paxton House, its influences and legacy, from 5 June to 28 August 2018. This exhibition defines the Paxton Style: a significant, and under-explored, element of the master cabinetmaker’s late oeuvre.
Several of the Chippendale 300 partners will be focusing on Chippendale’s continuing legacy in the 21st century. The Master Carvers Association, the oldest association of wood and stonecarvers in the UK, will hold an exhibition at The Sladmore Gallery, Mayfair in June 2018, to demonstrate the wealth of its current membership’s talent. The Master Carvers Association represents carvers of the highest ability who continue the tradition of design and carving exemplified by Chippendale in the 18th century.
Harewood House, near Leeds has some the most outstanding Chippendale furniture ever to be produced, commissioned by Edwin Lascelles for his new house built by John Carr of York and Robert Adam. Chippendale’s firm began work at Harewood in 1767 and the overall commission probably exceeded £10,000 – his most significant single commission.
To mark the tercentenary, Harewood House will present the exhibition Thomas Chippendale – Designer, Maker, Decorator from 24 March 2018, part of which will launch new research considering the original appearance of the White Drawing Room and Gallery at Harewood and how Chippendale approached interior design. The programme will also include contemporary artists’ responses to Chippendale’s work within and outside the house, tracing the journey of his furniture from the ‘tree to table’, engaging with the beautiful landscape at Harewood.
The full programme of events will be announced in the coming weeks.
About Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) rose from humble origins in the town of Otley, Yorkshire to become furniture maker to some of the most powerful and influential people of his day – aristocrats, politicians, businessmen, actors and royalty.
His revolutionary book of designs called The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director was first published in 1754 and made him famous throughout Europe and North America. In the 19th and 20th centuries the name ‘Chippendale’ became a byword for fine quality furniture making all over the world.
Chippendale’s Director was the first attempt in England to publish a comprehensive book of designs for furniture as a means of self-promotion. As a result his business immediately became known to a wide circle of potential clients, and his name became connected to a distinctive Rococo style.